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For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you might have seen that I recently joined Foursquare, admittedly to try and find out what all the fuss was about.

In actual fact I think it could provide great value to a lot of businesses, as well as certain individuals trying to promote a cause or product.

What businesses is Foursquare good for?

In my opinion, Foursquare as a marketing platform is a total waste of time for the majority of businesses, as unlike Twitter the ability to target a specific niche audience without having already built a relationship with them is very difficult, because there is friction with adding new people (due to privacy concerns).

Foursquare

Image credit: Flickr

The obvious type of company that benefits from using Foursquare are the ones that have a physical location and are open to customers - such as a shop, a restaurant, or a theme park. Here are some examples of businesses currently running marketing campaigns on Foursquare.

The reason why these types of businesses have an advantage is because they can get leverage from Foursquare’s shout functionality to incentivise customers to tweet or update their Facebook statuses tagging the businesses name when they check in.

Many businesses including Dominos Pizza also run mayor incentive programmes on Foursquare, whereby the mayor of a business venue (the person who has visited a store the most times over a period of two months) receives a free gift, in Dominos’ case a free small pizza – this obviously encourages customer loyalty, promotes word of mouth and raises awareness of the brands name across customers social media profiles.

Another great thing about having your business on Foursquare is that you can see who has been checking in, which can help not only with audience profiling, but also when it comes to building up other social media profiles such as Twitter with real customers – and not just any customers, but the Gen-Y ones that are web & social savvy and can help to promote your brand online.

What individuals is Foursquare good for?

For most individuals on Foursquare, they’re there because it’s fun, competitive, and a way of telling your friends about the cool places you’ve been visiting. But for some individuals trying to promote their cause or build a personal brand Foursquare can be a great tool. 

There are some great examples of musicians using Foursquare to promote their music and let their fans know where they are on tour and where they’re heading, and even travel bloggers using Foursquare to map out their travel routes visually for their blog readers to see.

Obviously, there are many privacy issues when it comes to personal Foursquare accounts, which is one of the major reasons that people are reluctant to join Foursquare, but  as long as your sensible (ie. not registering your own home so that people can see when you’re out of the house!) then you should be safe.

Kevin Gibbons

Published 24 August, 2010 by Kevin Gibbons

Kevin Gibbons is UK Managing Director at digital marketing agency BlueGlass. He is also known as an SEO speaker and can be found on Twitter and Google+.

102 more posts from this author

Comments (2)

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Vincent Roman

I started out reading this post, thinking it was great and had to agree with you.  The problem is that as I carried on I had less and less to agree with.  Foursquare is an unmitigated waste of time and it is clogging the tubes of the internet with utter trash.

Funnily enough I wrote a blog post about this exact topic yesterday and am pretty much resigned to the fact that I either have to cull users that insist of checking in to every place they go.  Worst still on Facebook, now that friends are using places.  I have to ban friends completely from my feed.  Talk about ZERO benefit for a useless addition to their service.

I laud musicians for trying new means to promote themselves, but Foursquare? Really? Isn't a scrobble just a check-in by another name?  So why not use last.fm?

Needless to say you can detect a general distain for these services, which do nothing but take thge status update to another dimension and give it a new name.

When will people out there get over the fad? or will an evangelist please convince me this new habit of checking in is the answer to all the ills of the world since christianaity!

about 6 years ago

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John Davis

Have to agree with Vincent's comments above.  

People don't necessarily want to be told where a friend or connection is and what they are doing all the time.  My feeds are now filling up with useless information like where Brad has checked in to have his lunch.  Information for the sake of informing.

A little too arrogant for my liking, I personally don't care where or what 99% of my connections are during the day.  If I wanted to know I'd ask.

about 6 years ago

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